Group membership, participation buck trends

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April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Ken Ryan

 

Biloxi, Miss.—Mature associations ordinarily don’t see a 25% increase in membership year-over-year after 36 years in business. But these are no ordinary times for the FCICA, the flooring contractors’ association, which has experienced explosive growth on several fronts, as was evidenced at its annual convention here last month.

Total membership climbed to 250 in 2018, up from 201 a year ago, and attendance at the 2018 convention set a new mark, including 78 first-time attendees. But that’s not all. FCICA’s signature Certified Installation Manager (CIM) program has seen dramatic participatory growth as well, with 65 total certifications now achieved, up from 28 a year ago.

So what gives? “It speaks to commitment of this group,” Mike Newberry, chairman of the FCICA, told FCNews. “We want to separate ourselves from the competition.”

The effort to differentiate starts with the CIM program, which was launched in 2015 to support installation managers’ continued training and professional development. It grew slowly but has now garnered support from outside FCICA. Install, for example, in support of FCICA, funds a $1,225 scholarship that provides the opportunity for one flooring professional to enroll and successfully complete the CIM training curriculum.

Association members have gotten behind CIM as well. Several large contractors have enrolled multiple individuals to complete the course. Metroflor believed enough in the program that it is funding a CIM scholarship so one contractor could send a candidate through the program. “I owned a contracting business at one time and I understand the value of education,” said David Altman, director of research and development, Metroflor. “CIM is a good program, one of the best things FCICA has going for it. To manage a project is a different art all together.”

J.R. Allred, general manager for Dalton Carpet One Floor & Home, Athens, Ga., concurred. “There really isn’t anything like it in the industry,” he said.  “What it really is, is a certified project manager program.”

Newberry said he knew it would take time for CIM to grow because in the beginning FCICA was doing all the marketing. But, he noted, it was an effort worth pursuing. “We made CIM our No. 1 priority; we staked our claim to this program. It is a risk when you say you’re going to hang your hat on something, but you have to lead with your heart and have faith.”

The growth of the CIM program has coincided with an uptick in overall membership. Newberry said credit goes to the entire FCICA family as well as membership chairman Pat Kelly, who has worked diligently to get the word out and recruit. In the past year, FCICA has attended both the Starnet and FUSE conferences and signed up additional members. It should be noted FCICA isn’t poaching members from these associations but rather encouraging individuals or companies to add FCICA to their ledger. As Newberry explained, “It’s not either this association or that association. It’s about all of us getting better as an industry.”

FCICA’s Successors group of under 40-year-old leaders is another example of solid growth. Three years ago, Successors was merely an idea. Today it has 33 members and counting. “This is an important group because if we don’t take steps now to bring the next set along we’ll be doomed,” Newberry said. “The more really good people you have, the better off you are.”

Fortunately for FCICA, it has many good people willing to invest their time to enhance the association. “Again, it speaks to this group because volunteer positions can go one of two ways. You can have a title and then show up to a meeting once in a while, or you can take the title seriously and make things happen. We could have Kim [Oderkirk, the executive director] do all the work, or we could all take part and pitch in, and that is what we did with this group.”

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